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Ask Kelley: Potty Training Anxiety

Ask Kelley: Potty Training Anxiety

Your child has been peeing and pooping in their diaper for some time. They know what it feels like, smells like - it is theirs, after-all! Now, you are suggesting that part of what is theirs is something you want to flush away. You wave bye-bye pee and poop and then maybe your child cries, breaks down, runs away, hides. Plus, they may not be able to tell you why they react the way they do. Whatever the reason for your child's apprehension, you as the adult must not dismiss it. Instead, realize it and work with it.
You are doing all the right preparations for your child’s potty-toilet training adventure, so why is your child having anxiety?   

  • Examine your toilet training time frame. Is this really the right time for my child to begin toilet training? 
    • Can you hold off for a few weeks or month? Even though a few weeks or month seem too long for you, the adult, for a child their development grows so quickly a bit more time might be the key for potty training success.
  • Is your child experiencing constipation or urinary infections? Likely, not the best time to start a new routine. 

Possible potty time anxiety from a child’s point of view.  

  • Toilet flushing scares me.
  • I am going down the potty.
  • Something might come out of the toilet.
  • I can’t see the water.
  • I am afraid because I’m afraid. 

What can you do about these problems? 

  • Plan ahead. See my article Getting Ready To Potty Train. You can prevent many of these fears simply by planning ahead.
  • Consider your child’s diet. Adding more liquids and water along with an increase in fiber foods.   
  • If you are comfy with your child in the bathroom while you are on the toilet…there is no better an example than the real thing in action. Talking to your child about your potty time adventure in a positive and relaxing method can go a long way to reassuring your child their adventure can be the same.  
  • I am not a huge fan of the standalone potty chair but if your child is truly afraid of sitting on the big toilet this could be the ideal route for a season of time. 
    • As your child becomes more relaxed with the potty chair, try a few short potty-sits on the big toilet until they are ready to make the change.  
  • Once your child is sitting on the toilet you will want to support your child’s feet. A small stool will help to aid in their foot placement. If their feet are left to swing or dangle it will distract them from the process. When the feet have a solid brace, it will support to push while having a bowl movement. 

BTW, when your child begins preschool, the same concept applies. Their feet need to be fully on the floor. It helps with their posture and ability to sit properly at a table… that is a whole other topic 😊.  
Wishing you many successful deposits,

- Kelley
Roots and wings ~ my two favorite things to give our children

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